Animal By-Products Feb 13, 2024

What are animal by-products and how are animal by-products treated?

What are animal by-products and how are animal by-products treated?

Posted on December 1st, 2017

It may sound an obvious question, but what are animal by-products? The answer isn’t as straight forward as you may first think. Animal by-products or ABP covers a surprisingly large range of business activities. These are some of the most common:

  • International Catering Waste
  • Veterinary waste
  • Anatomical waste
  • Animal bedding & manure
  • Animal carcasses, hides, skin, hooves, feathers, wool, horns or hair
  • Processed animal proteins (PAP)
  • Carcasses of animals used in experiments
  • Roadkill
  • Meat products removed for commercial reasons

Which businesses or activities produce Animal By-products?

There are the obvious companies and sectors that produce animal by-products. For example, in the EU over 20 million tonnes of ABPs emerge annually from abattoirs, plants producing food for human consumption, dairies and fallen stock from farms.

Other sources of ABP in the UK include:

  • Ports and Airports
  • Universities
  • Veterinaries and Veterinary Hospitals
  • Government bodies including Highways Agency and local authorities

Because of the broad range of ABPs and the differing risks to public health there are some strict regulations governing the disposal of ABPs.

Animal By-product Regulations

ABPs are categorised according to the level of risk posed to public health. There are 3 categories with Category 1 ABP being the highest risk, Category 2 ABP is high risk and Category 3 ABP is low risk. It is important to understand the different categories as this determines which the treatment process to use.

Processing Category 1 ABP

Category 1 ABP is the highest risk to public health. Category 1 ABP is:

  • Any domestic or wild animal infected with a disease transmittable to humans or animals
  • ABP is contaminated with treatments from healthcare research

For example, an animal that is infected or suspected of being infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), avian flu or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) poses a significant risk to public health.

For this reason, Category 1 ABP should be disposed of at an approved incineration or co-incineration site. You can find more information on approved disposal methods here.

Processing Category 2 ABP

Category 2 ABP is still a high risk to public health, Category 2 ABP includes:

  • Un-hatched poultry that died in its shell
  • Carcasses of animals killed for disease control
  • Animal carcasses rejected by abattoirs due to infectious diseases

There are more options when it comes to treating Category 2 ABP. DEFRA lists incineration first as a processing method because Category 2 poses a risk to public health. You can view other treatment options here.

Processing Category 3 ABP

Category 3 ABP poses a low risk to public health, Category 3 APBs include:

  • Animal carcasses and body parts fit for human consumption
  • Meat products removed for commercial reasons

As this is the lowest risk category there are more options available for disposal. For example, an abattoir will send ABPs to a rendering plant. Some ABPs, such as milk, eggs or fish oils, are used to make feed for farm animals. Some ABPs are end up as pet food. So you can see there are more options due to the lower risks to public health.

Do I have to incinerate Category 3 ABP?

If you are producing Category 3 APB, there are still valid reasons to use incineration as a waste process. Recently Food crime has been in the news. Most notably the horse meat scandal, contaminated eggs and the alleged food safety breaches at 2 Sisters Food Group. Because of this, brand owners are looking for ways to protect their company’s reputation. As a consequence, many companies now stipulate that stock removed for a commercial reason goes to incineration, thereby ensuring the product can’t re-enter the food chain.

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